By Paul Churchill
A few years back, there was a saying taken from a song. It said, “I was country when country wasn’t cool.” I mention this because, for many of us who served in Vietnam, we were Vietnam Vets when being a Vietnam vet wasn’t cool.
We lived, fought, and saw our brothers in arms become wounded and killed in a land that was new and foreign. Our “free time” was spent talking and dreaming of getting back to “The World.” However, when we got back, with the exception of our immediate families in most cases, “The World” didn’t want us.
Today, of the three and a quarter million who served in Vietnam, only a little over two million survived. The once despised Vietnam Veteran has been changed from a media-created monster; an object of scorn to something altogether different. Why do I say this?
As I mentioned earlier, there are just over two million Vietnam Vets alive today, yet in the last U.S. census well over fifteen million Americans registered as Vietnam Veterans. All I can say about that, “If you are one of these extra thirteen million, we don’t want anymore to do with you now then you wanted to do with us then!
The Bible tells us, “There is no greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for another”. The men named on the Vietnam Memorial Wall did just that and we honor them for their sacrifices. I ask you, “Is etching their name on a wall, a piece of granite enough? Or is there more can we do to honor them?
To answer this question, I will borrow from another famous saying, “Honor the dead by serving the living. The names on the wall should never be forgotten. Those of us who knew them will keep their memory alive for as long as we live. This is our duty and our privilege. We can continue to honor those who’ve died by supporting those who remain and continue to bear the burden – who pay the price for freedom today.
Fifty-eight thousand died in Vietnam. Over one hundred ninety thousand were seriously wounded and bear the scars of battle. Today, thousands more face the challenge of simply returning to “The World”. These young men and women continue to pay the often terrible price for freedom. “Honor the dead by serving the living”.
The greatest honor we can pay those who have given their all is to make sure that no other generation of our nation’s defenders is ever forgotten or ignored, nor that the families of the lost and of those who serve now are not left behind to bear this burden alone.
Those of us who have been there must be there for those who return today.
Thank You And GOD Bless Our Land.
Paul Churchill is a veteran of four years in the U.S. Navy as Hospital Corpsman (medic). He served from December of 1964 until December of 1968 departing April 1, 1966 for Vietnam for a 13-month tour with the 3rd Marine Division. He is a member of the V.F.W., the Marine Corps League and the 3rd Marine Division Association but states that his greatest satisfaction comes from his faith in the Lord and his church family. He currently lives in the Port Huron Area with his wife, Peggy. Married for 48 years, Paul says they’ve gotten a pretty good start.
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